A few months back we learned that the 100% no-doubt best team in the NBA, the Sacramento Kings will be playing two exhibition games in Mumbai in October. I mean, they aren’t the “best” if you go by number of wins or anything like that, but in just a general goodness kind of way.
This seemed like a rare opportunity for Sacramento to make a splash in the the fast-growing India tourism market so the very first thing I did was send a reply tweet when local hero, Netflix legend, former Pizza Hut pitchman and huge Kings fan Hasan Minhaj posted some Kings stuff on twitter.
When that didn’t take off, I went to my boss and excitedly screamed “The Kings are playing in India!” over and over again – loudly – until she reached out to our friends at Visit California who – it turns out – had already been in contact with the NBA. Soon a plan for an Indian “celebrity influencer” to visit Sacramento and create marketing content around the Kings, India and the NBA came together.
One of the biggest perks of my job is that I get to share Sacramento with folks from all around the world. Actually, that is like 90% of the job, so I guess it’s pretty much all one big perk. But showing around a celebrity from India was a new high point.
You might know Rannvijay Singha from Sharafat Gayi Tel Leni, Kaushiki or Taur Mitran Di – or at least you might if you watch a lot of Indian programs. He is also known for some MTV India shows like “MTV Stunt Mania Underground” (which sounds awesome), “MTV Roadies” and something called “MTV Troll Police.”
If you aren’t familiar with him, Rannvijay is a tv host and actor who loves travel, the NBA and sneakers. Oh and he has like 3.1 million Instagram followers….which is approximately [grabs calculator, pretends to press buttons] 3.1 million more than I have. He’s super popular and super nice, so I was really feeling the pressure.
I had Rannvijay and his crew all to myself to give them an idea of what Sacramento is all about. No surprises here, we spent the next two days taking in a lot of history, food and outdoor recreation. They were pretty much up for anything I threw their way: Mine tours, yoga paddleboarding, biking, hanging out with historical reenactors, eating and eating and eating and eating. And eating.
Rannvijay loves sneakers so we also hit up Getta Clue and Kicx and the crew and I just had to abandoned him there because he might as well have fallen into a black hole.
Rannvijay also spent a good chunk of his visit trying to teach me the type of overly complicated handshake that cool people with great coordination give each other regularly. This one ended with a chest bump that almost broke my sternum. Though dying, I acted cool. Probably just put that one on the ol’ tombstone.
Anyhow, then there was a third day where he just did Sacramento Kings things including a shoot-around with future all-star-MVP-hall-of-famer Harry Giles, attending a Kings “California Classic” summer game and meeting Kings owner Vivek Ranadive.
The most important thing was that Harry Giles did not get hurt during the 30 minutes Rannvijay spent chucking up half-courters with him.
The videos the crew made are just coming out now. They will be all over India in the next few weeks as we get closer to the games on Oct. 4 & 5. And Visit Sacramento and Visit California will be using them throughout the year.
I’m just getting my first look at the videos now. They are good.
Over the course of the three days, the things I heard most from Rannvijay and his crew were “Wow, we had no idea Sacramento was so cool!” and “Nick, could you stay out of the shot please….again.”
Of course I’m back there mucking-up the best shot of the whole video when Rannvijay falls off his board into Lake Natoma. I promise I was doing my best to paddle out of the way, but – newsflash – I am not a great paddleboarder. I was basically just spinning in a circle for half an hour and I’d like to take this chance to apologize to our instructor, Rannvijay, the NBA and all of India.
Here is the video that will play on the big screen at the actual games in Mumbai. I honestly believe I have permission to share this here, but please let me know otherwise, NBA lawyers.
And here are the rest of the videos…all kinda similar but each awesome in its own way. Big thanks to Canon, Urban Roots, Season of Summer Paddleboarding, Getta Clue, the dude who dresses up like Sam Brannan in Old Sacramento, Gold Bug Mine and the 100% no-doubt best team in the NBA for making this happen.
Oh and, of course, thanks to Rannvijay and his awesome crew! Come back any time! You too Hasan Manhaj!